The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum issued a statement Monday morning denouncing Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for comparing migrant detention centers along the country’s southern border to concentration camps during World War II.
In its statement, the museum said it “unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary.”
“The museum further reiterates that a statement ascribed to a museum staff historian regarding recent attempts to analogize the situation on the United States southern border to concentration camps in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s does not reflect the position of the museum,” the statement continued.
The controversial comparisons were started by Ocasio-Cortez last week, when she took to Instagram Live to share her thoughts on the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border, invoking the popular Holocaust remembrance phrase “Never Again.”
“I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity that ‘Never Again’ means something,” she said. “The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”
Omar doubled down toward the end of the week, agreeing with her 29-year-old counterpart’s characterization. She also said she doesn’t understand why anyone would take issue with the comparison.
“There are camps and people are being concentrated. This is very simple. I don’t even know why this is a controversial thing for her to say,” Omar said, adding it’s proof the U.S. needs to “abolish” the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd faced backlash last week when he sought to hold Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow Democrats accountable for the irresponsible comparison.
“If you want to criticize the shameful treatment of people at our southern border, fine,” he said. “You’ll have plenty of company. But be careful comparing them to Nazi concentration camps, because they’re not at all comparable in the slightest.”